How would you check the steering, and is there anything in particular to look for? Do they just get tired and sloppy, sort of everything wearing out at once, or something breaking?Looks to be in decent shape
That's about an average price around here. One thing to be concerned with is the all wheel steer, they are known to have issues with the rear wheel steering wearing out, I've seen many 4x5 series all wheel steer's requiring the rear steering to be rebuilt with less than 500hrs.
Don't do that. AWS is awesome.Can the rear wheel steering be disconnected and locked straight to make it like a standard 455?
I used mine for 19+ years and never had such issues, and I have dozens of trees and shrubs to mow around. I always got right up underneath them right to the minimum radius the tractor could do, with the bushes all up in my face. Only once did what you describe get me: I turned sharp to go left and the right tire went into a snow drift and pulled the tractor right in. Wasn't a huge deal; I got out of it pretty easily. And I only did it once and figured that out real quick: don't turn sharp away from a snow pile if the outside wheel is right up against the snow pile. I believe it's just knowing how to drive it. I learned to not cut too tight when close to snow drifts and never had another incident.On my 425 I used to have the rod that went from the front to the rear broke. Probably from age and hours of use. AWS is something you have to get used to. It has it's benefits but it took me a couple years of use in different areas to know what and what not to do. If you're mowing close to something and you turn sharp out away from whatever it is, the tractor moves in the opposite direction and if you're not careful the more you try to get out of the situation you just got yourself into the more trouble your in. Turn right, tractor moves to the left, does the same turning the other way. If you get one, all I can say is DON'T get into tight spaces. Yes I did this many times till I got tired of it. Got between a patio and a classic car once and had to physically scoot the rear-end to get out without damaging either. It was NO fun and NO I would NEVER buy another. Wide open spaces, good to go. Check all steering connection points.
Sorry you missed out. Keep looking. There will be others. As I said my buddy is selling his real cheap. A bit of a trip from Long Island, but if interested let me know and I'll put you touch with him.Thank you all for beginning my 455 education. I was supposed to see it today but the seller contacted me to say a family member expressed interest and that they'd contact me again if anything changes. Sounds like it might have been a pretty good deal.
Don't do that. AWS is awesome.
On hills, it's better than non-AWS. Those who haven't owned one simply don't know. I operated mine on some very steep slopes for nearly 19 years. I could barely stay on the seat, but the tractor never even gave a hint of coming off the ground, and would only slip in the wettest of conditions. One advantage of AWS. when turning on hills, is that the drive wheels are pointed in the direction of travel rather than fighting against the steering. This gives them excellent traction and is faster to get out of the turn. AWS tractors also have smaller wheels and tires, giving you markedly lower center of gravity. The same feature that gives in low center of gravity also lowers the hood, making it easier to get in and under trees and shrubs.
AWS in a 400 series is far superior in everyway, except for ground clearance. The only time I wouldn't want it is if plowing a garden or tilling where you might sink it down onto the center rear steering pinion. And there is no question they are very reliable. No issues on mine in over 1200 hours and 19+ years, and seldom a post about problems with AWS on any forums I visit. Think about that: How many are out there 1000's? tens of 1000s? Many that's for sure, as they made the 400 series with an AWS options for about 10 years. Further, JD still offers this option on their high-end tractors. Do you really think they would continue to do so if there were reliability issues with it?
AWS is also great when plowing snow. The blade can make the front end light, causing loss of steering. Well, guess what? With AWS you can steer with the front wheels off the ground. I plow sideways on an 11' wide driveway and I couldn't do that without AWS. Let's me push snow where I want it to go; and in a hurry.
Some situations don't gain a whole lot with AWS. However, for me, I'll never own another type of garden tractor as long as I live on this property. Maneuverability is king for me. If you have an open lawn with few obstacles or few tight dead-ends, then maybe AWS adds nothing for you.
On the X700's the AWS is improved because there is no ground clearance penalty.
I have a buddy who owns 2 455's without AWS. He bought them just a few years ago. Knowing his property, I tried to convince him to look for one with AWS. He didn't "get it" and bought the straight drive ones. Well, he's seeing the light now. Regrets it; now understands how it would help him. Plans to sell both 455's and buy an X739 (AWS).